GEOFF PERCIVAL: Ed Sheeran silences Cork championship weekend

Nearly 30 years after monies from a pair of Michael Jackson gigs helped the Cork County Board to buy Páirc Uí Rinn, another musical performer has led to a summer weekend free of county championship games.

Ed Sheeran will become the first act to play at the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh this weekend, with concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

With the English singer’s dates having been announced last June, it meant that Cork fixture-planners were facilitated in being able to tailor their schedule accordingly, avoiding any possible complications.

As April — which had been kept free for club fixtures — is over, the coming weekend already had potential intrusions, given that the Cork senior hurlers play Clare on May 20.

Cork have completed 45 first-round fixtures across senior, premier intermediate and intermediate football and hurling championships, with 10 outstanding IHC round one ties to be played on the weekend of May 11, 12 and 13.

The decision was therefore taken to have a blanket wipeout this coming weekend.

As well as parking and manpower considerations, the board also took cognisance of club players, who may be attending the concerts.

“Traffic restrictions in the area would have ruled out any games in Páirc Uí Rinn, while the expected involvement of a number of trained Cork GAA stewards and key event control personnel in the running of the concerts would also have drained resources,” said Cork County Board chairperson Tracey Kennedy.

“Moreover, it was expected that many club players would be among the concertgoers across the three sold-out shows.

“As a result, it made sense to keep the weekend free of club games, when it was possible to do so, rather than having clubs trying to move games to facilitate the attendance of their players at the concerts.”

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